Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing global warming. As a result there is a rapidly increasing need for technologies that can remove carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the long term. In response a research team at UNSW Sydney is developing improved biochars from metropolitan garbage. Field tests demonstrated that these products can improve soil productivity, water-holding capacity and microbial profile while sequestering greenhouse gases and reducing the need for chemical fertilisers.
The researchers needed to characterise their different biochars and used Microscopy Australia scanning and transmission electron microscopy and microanalysis at UNSW. This allowed optimisation of the biochar structure to maximise the impact of these biochars in improving soil health and carbon storage.